Friday, November 30, 2012

Jamie's tuna and jiggy greens

And what exactly are jiggy greens?*

I was a bit ‘iffy’ about calling these greens ‘jiggy’, but that’s what Jamie Oliver calls them, and who am I to mess with his terminology? By the way, if you’ve typed in ‘jiggy jiggy greens’ in your search engine – come on, admit it – then hopefully you’ve landed in the right place.

I suppose you have to have a certain attitude to get away with this sort of talk. You know, if you’re Jamie Oliver, then you describe sausages as ‘bad boys’ and a sprig of thyme as ‘lovely-jubbly’. If you’re Curtis Stone, then you say ‘dude’ or ‘hey, buddy’ a lot. And if you’re Nigella Lawson, you gaze lasciviously at a bowl of melted chocolate while the tip of your tongue caresses your lip. Whereas if you are a hatted-chef like Neil Perry, then you make dishes that require hours of preparation so you don’t have time to talk like a normal person. Geez, get with it, man!

This recipe was made on Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals this week. He also made 3 other meals in the 1-hour episode, but, like the coconut buns ordeal, it took me close to an hour to do this one dish. Oh, well, if I can’t walk the Jamie walk, then maybe I can talk the Jamie talk.
So – get into the 15-minute meals mindset: turn the stove up to full blast, have the kettle boiling, don’t bother peeling our garlic, give your bad-boy piece of tuna a roll in some lovely jubbly sesame seeds and throw your jiggy jiggy greens into a bowl and Get STUCK IN!

* Jiggy greens are a Jamie Oliver invention. I don’t know what it means.

Seared Tuna with Greens and Coconut Rice
serves 4

400g fresh tuna fillet
2 tblsp sesame seeds
1 tsp green tea powder (matcha) or green tea leaves
Salt and pepper
½ tsp vegetable oil

Small bunch of mini asparagus
Small bunch of broccolini (tenderstem broccoli)
1 tsp crushed garlic
½ tsp sesame oil
1 tblsp oyster sauce

270g tin of reduced fat coconut milk
Basmati rice to fill an empty 270g tin
Boiling water to fill an empty 270g tin
Pinch of salt

1 red grapefruit, sliced
½ bunch chives, finely chopped

1. For the rice: Place the coconut milk, rice, boiling water and salt into a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for about 10 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the heat.

2. For the greens: Finely slice the asparagus and broccolini (in a food processor or using a knife – just make the pieces very small). Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat, add the vegetables and garlic and stir for 1 minute, until the vegetables have softened slightly. Add the oyster sauce and stir to combine. Spoon the vegetables into a serving bowl.

3. For the tuna: Cut the tuna into logs about 4cm (1½ inch) in diameter. Mix the sesame seeds, green tea, salt and pepper on a board, then roll the tuna logs in the mixture until all sides of the tuna are coated. Heat the oil in the frying pan over high heat, then add the tuna and cook for 30 seconds on each side, until barely cooked on the outside and still raw on the inside. Remove from the heat and cut the tuna into 1cm (1/2 inch) slices.

4. To serve: Place the grapefruit on a serving plate. Top with tuna slices and chopped chives. Serve with coconut rice and greens.

Ingredients, including red grapefruit, lite coconut milk, tuna, asparagus and broccolini.

Coat the tuna in a mix of sesame seeds, green tea, salt and pepper. Personally, I'd add a lot more salt and pepper to give more flavour.
Lightly cook the tuna so you get a nice even crust.

Serve the tuna on grapefruit slices.

I actually preferred the coconut rice and jiggy greens to the tuna. The rice was perfectly cooked (the measurements using the coconut milk tin are spot-on) and the greens were still crisp without being too raw.
The tuna is quite pretty, though. Lovely (jubbly).

Cat Update

Rather than being a cute pic of a sleeping Tabitha, this is Tab using the stair carpet as a scratching post. The carpet's a real mess of fluff and can't be replaced because scratchy cat will rough it up, too.

Also - Henry Update
Henry cat has returned to the neighbourhood, with a new collar, too!
Phew! Even though we (Tab and Bel) barely tolerate him, the men/dudes of the household adore him, so it's a relief that Hen is back. Pictures at 8.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Japanese chicken meatballs with cat-attractant nori

Lots of thing give me the irrits, but most of all, it irritates me no end when department stores and shopping centres start putting up their Christmas trees and decorations in October. For heaven’s sake, it’s not even Halloween, and you’re making us think of sleigh bells jing-jing-jingling?

So I stay irritated for a month or so, then realise that, hey, it’s only a couple of weeks till Christmas, oh heck, I haven’t done any shopping for gifts yet, why didn’t anyone remind me??!!??

Luckily, this year, there does seem to be a bit more time to get things done. I’ve decided to try out a couple of recipes that might go down well at a holiday get-together. You know, canapés and the like. Here’s a good one for Tsukune, or Japanese chicken meatballs. They certainly look the part, and the accompanying sweet-salty sauce complements them perfectly. So do the strips of nori – just don’t leave seaweed in sight of cats – go to the end of this post to see what I mean.

Japanese Chicken Meatballs
makes approx 20

500g chicken mince
1 small onion, grated
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tblsp oyster sauce
1 tsp caster sugar
½ tsp salt
1 eggwhite
1 tblsp sesame seeds
1 sheet nori seaweed, cut into thin strips (use scissors), to serve

2 tblsp tomato sauce or ketchup
2 tblsp oyster sauce
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce


1. Preheat oven to 180C/360F. Line a tray with baking paper

2. In a food processor, put the chicken mince, onion, garlic, ginger, lemon zest, oyster sauce, sugar and salt and whiz until smooth. Add the eggwhite and mix until combined.

3. Wet your hands with water, then roll a tablespoon of the chicken mixture into a ball and place onto the lined tray. Repeat with all the chicken mixture. Bake for 10 minutes.

4. For the sauce: Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl.

5. Remove chicken balls from the oven, and brush half the sauce over the meatballs. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and return the tray to the oven for another 10 minutes, until the meatballs are golden and cooked through.

6. To serve, place the nori strips on top of the meatballs and serve the remaining sauce on the side.

recipe adapted from

Chicken meatballs before being popped in the oven.
Nothing much to see here.
But just wait 20 minutes and they turn into this...

Golden morsels of ginger- and sesame-scented goodness.

Serve as a snack, or they are just as good for dinner, with a bowl of soba noodles.

What Tabi Ate

Trust me to leave the leftover nori sheets in a plastic bag, secured with a peg, on the kitchen benchtop.
Tabitha cat managed to get into it and lick/nibble the nori. Yuck.
Just the thing you want to be confronted with after a long day at work:

Tabitha cat: I was just strolling past the kitchen and saw this mess on the floor.

It wasn't me!

Henry Cat Update

This is not one of those Where's Wally puzzles.
After turning up for a couple of days without his collar and nametag, Henry cat has stopped turning up at all!
We are worried.
Just hoping that his owners have moved and taken Henry with them.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Jamie's Coconut Buns with Chicken Stir-fry

Have you seen Jamie Oliver’s latest passion, 15 Minute Meals?

With the cookbook on display in most stores just in time for Christmas shopping, and the television series on in prime time, it’s pretty hard to miss. The tv series is even on twice a week over here, sort of rubbing it in that while you’re sitting down to an evening ‘meal’ of dry cereal and a flagon of wine, in the same 15 minutes, Jamie has whipped up a substantial spread of crab pastries, salad and salsa, all laid out on a trendy, massive wooden platter.

And what’s the rush, anyway? Why do in 15 minutes something you used to do in 30 or 60 minutes? Then I realised that it’s more about getting ideas on what to make and how to do it, with lots of room for improvisation. The 15 Minute Meals tv show is great, as I’d much rather watch something being done rather than reading about it, and Jamie is exhaustingly entertaining. This week, he made these clever steamed coconut buns, and it’s an idea that I’ve nicked in a jiffy (sorry, speaking in colloquial slang is sort of contagious). In the tv show, Jamie also steamed the chicken and vegetables, but I thought that stir-frying them would be more flavoursome.

By the way, guess how long it took to make this… 45 minutes!!! Well, it’s not how quick you are, it’s more about how good it was, ie. really good.

Stir-fried Chicken with Coconut Buns
serves 4

For the coconut buns:
270g tin of light coconut milk
Approx 2 cups self-raising flour
½ tsp salt

For the chicken:
1 tsp vegetable oil
3 chicken thigh fillets, cut into 1cm strips
100g mushrooms, such as shiitake or button, roughly torn
1 bunch broccolini or small broccoli, cut into 5cm pieces
3 tblsp oyster sauce, plus extra to serve
2 tblsp lightly toasted sesame seeds
Lime wedges, to serve


1. For the coconut buns: Pour the coconut milk into a food processor. Use the empty tin to measure out the self-raising flour – you want 2 tins’ worth of flour. Add the flour and salt to the food processor and process until a dough forms. Lightly knead the dough on a lightly floured surface, then roll out 4 to 5 balls of dough (you may need to dust with more flour, it’s quite a wet dough). Place the balls into large muffin cases and place, in a single layer, into a steamer basket with a lid. Put the steamer over a pan of boiling water (medium heat) and steam for 10 minutes.

2. For the chicken: Place a wok over high heat and add the oil. When hot, add the chicken pieces and stir until the chicken is browned, about 3 minutes.

3. Place the broccolini in a microwave-safe container and microwave for 50 seconds. 4. Back to the wok, add the broccolini and mushrooms to the chicken and stir for 1 minute. Add the oyster sauce and stir until the chicken and vegetables are coated and heated through.

5. To serve: Put the chicken and vegetables onto a large plate and sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Place extra oyster sauce, sesame seeds and the lime wedges on the side. Mop up the juices with the hot coconut buns.

recipe adapted from

Ingredients, including coconut milk, 2 tins' worth of self-raising flour, mushrooms and broccolini.

This bamboo steaming basket is for display only, being too small to steam the 4 buns that this recipe makes. Here is a single lonely bun, before cooking.

Serve with condiments on the side.

Quick-ish and full of flavour.
The coconut buns are light, fluffy and unusual. Will definitely be making them again.

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Treat of hot marshmallow fudge sauce

It’s with a slight sense of relief that Halloween is over for another year. Because, the past couple of years, we’ve been ‘disappointed’ that no eager, dressed up, cute lil’ munchkins have come knocking for trick or treat. Well, there was the one time that some manky teenage girls turned up in torn fishnets, short skirts and smeared makeup – I’m sure it was their usual weeknight outfit rather than a costume – and I threw some Minties at them with a distinct look of disapproval that probably mimicked their mothers…

This year, I asked ‘Should we buy some lollies for Halloween?’ and got a shouted ‘No!’ for an answer. So the only sweets in the house that night was a bag of marshmallows, my ‘emergency stash’ for when I need a sugar hit when I get home from work. Can you imagine receiving a handful of loose marshmallows in your trick or treat pumpkin? I am so glad no kiddies turned up.

And I used the marshmallows in this Hot Marshmallow Fudge Sauce and it was good, a definite Treat.

Hot Marshmallow Fudge Sauce
serves 4

1 cup thickened cream
150g dark chocolate, chopped
100g marshmallows, chopped roughly
¼ cup roasted hazelnuts, skins removed, halved
Ice cream, to serve

1. Place cream in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate, until smooth.

2. Return to the stove, reducing the heat to low. Add the marshmallows and stir until they melt. Allow sauce to cool slightly.

3. To serve, put 2 scoops of ice cream into a bowl, pour over the hot fudge sauce, and sprinkle over the hazelnuts.

Store leftover sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Heat on medium-low heat in the microwave for 30 seconds (keep a close eye on it, it quickly boils over).

recipe adapted from delicious (October 2012)

Ingredients, including hazelnuts, marshmallows left over from Halloween, good dark chocolate

Serve the sauce drizzled over ice cream.
Here, the ice cream flavour is honey caramel macadamia.
There are no limits on what flavour you choose - this fudge sauce is awesome on anything.